Mamata Extends Lockdown Till June 30 Even as Offices, Malls & Establishments Open in Bengal

Concerned over rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the state, West Bengal government on Monday extended the lockdown in the ‘Containment Zones’ till June 30.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that the lockdown, which was set to end on June 15, has been extended in the state for another 15 days.

The excerpts of the letter issued by the state Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha reads, “In terms of Ministry of Home Affairs order, and in partial modification, the lockdown measures in Containment Zones (Affected Area) stands extended up to June 30, 2020.”

While elaborating more on the lockdown extension, Banerjee, said, “As precautionary measures to contain the pandemic, we have decided to extend the lockdown till June 30. In addition to the relaxations allowed earlier, we have decided to allow only 25 persons to enter the places of worship at a time. Earlier, we had allowed only 10 people at social programmes such as a marriage or a funeral ceremony, now we have increased it to 25.”

As per the latest order norms of physical distancing and health hygiene protocol must be strictly followed. Any violation in compliance of norms of physical distancing, health hygiene protocol and wearing of masks shall attract penal actions as per law, the notice reads.

“Movement of individuals shall remain prohibited between 9 PM and 5 AM,” the Chief Minister said.

Asked whether the TMC government will go digital for ‘Shahid Diwas’ (Martyr’s Day) on July 21 akin to the BJP who did it for virtual ‘Jan Samvad’ rallies, Mamata said she cannot comment on the topic without discussing with party members.

"BJP can afford to spend crores on rallies, we cannot do it. We are only conducting video conferences. I cannot say now on ‘Shahid Diwas”.

Commenting on reports of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal having gone into self-quarantine because of symptoms of fever and sore throat, Banerjee wished the former a speedy recovery.

The Mamata Banerjee-led government eased shutdown curbs in the state from June 1, allowing places of worship to reopen, and jute, tea and construction sectors to resume full-fledged operations.

Shopping malls, restaurants and other establishments resumed services in West Bengal on Monday after a gap of over two months.

In another development, work resumed at different government departments in the state on Monday after a gap of more than two months, with the state easing restrictions as part of 'Unlock 1', even as public transport system was yet to pick up pace in the city and beyond.

According to a senior government official at the state secretariat 'Nabanna', most of the departments witnessed almost 70 per cent attendance by noon, in line with the instructions issued by the state government.

(With inputs from PTI)